Ever heard God tell you to do something and immediately thought, “Nope, not gonna happen.” I can recall several instances when this has been true in my life. And yet, He has always found a way to convince me. I always look back and think, “Well, that wasn’t so bad and I could have saved myself a lot of heartache if I would have just done it to begin with.”

This is one of those times. I have felt God urging me to write again. I have even had people reach out to me that have come across my blog to tell me how inspirational it is. For a while, I didn’t have any words. I honestly thought that the season of me sharing my life with others was over. It has felt like wandering in the dessert knowing that I would never find water again.

A part of me was thankful. My life has had so many challenges. From molestation as a child, becoming a single mother at the young age of 16, and of course the wreck that altered the course of not only my life, but the lives of my children. And most recently, a divorce. I can’t begin to tell you how many people have said, “I don’t know how you stay so positive and so strong.” I didn’t want to be strong anymore. I just wanted to feel normal.

After the divorce, I felt like a failure. How could I, who prayed for God to save my marriage and did so publicly for the world to see, have anything left to say to anyone. It has taken me a lot of time, but I know now that God did save my marriage, for a season. I was meant to be a mother to my children who needed me after the wreck. Now God has began a new season in my life.

From every challenge in my life, I have been able to help others. I can truly say, “Yes, I know how you feel.” I can relate to what people are going through genuinely and with compassion. I have learned that my story is meant to help others. And that by doing so, God heals and restores me too.

My uncle Billy passed away four years ago today. He was the light of my world growing up. He was funny and his laugh was infectious. He loved to play practical jokes. He taught me to love music. I spent hours listening to music with him and to this day I can’t hear Creedence Clearwater Revival without thinking of him. Most importantly, he taught me that I could be safe around a man. I knew that he loved me and would never hurt me.

My beautiful Nannie and uncle Billy

In 2012, his 18 year old son died suddenly in a tragic car accident. Our relationship was never the same. He acted out of anger and said things to hurt me deeply. I understood, and I was always ready to listen. I didn’t mind being the “punching bag” because he needed to express his feelings. I have sons. I know that if I were to lose them, I probably would react in ways that I normally wouldn’t too.

After the wreck, I was hurt when he didn’t come to the hospital. He later called to apologize and left me a voicemail. But at the time, all I heard was excuses. My focus was on my kids and being there for them. I didn’t think I had time for family drama, so I never called him back. I would never have the chance to do so again. He died shortly after due to a massive heart attack. I barley made it in time to the hospital to say goodbye.

I am not one to live my life with regrets. I know that that there are consequences to choices I make. I believe that you reap what you sow. Had I not had such a tumultuous childhood, I wouldn’t have my two boys. Had I not decided to try to make my marriage work, I wouldn’t have been able to be there when the boys needed me most. But not accepting an apology from my uncle Billy is a regret that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. He died never knowing that I was acting out of hurt, and that I loved him deeply.

Do I believe that our relationship would have gotten better had I accepted the apology? No, I don’t. But I now know that forgiving someone isn’t always about reconciliation. Forgiveness is acknowledging that you were hurt, then allowing healing to begin.

My hope in sharing my story is that if you have conflict with someone who has tried to ask for forgiveness, accept it. I am not suggestion that you reconcile with that person or even continue a relationship with that person. You will then allow yourself the opportunity to heal. Most importantly, you won’t be left with regret when you suddenly realize one day that you will never have the chance again.

Love & Blessings,

C.C. Hasty